Bob Dylan was staying at the Mayfair Hotel in London today in 1966 when he had some guests join him for most of the day watching “rushes” (or raw, unedited footage) of D.A. Pennebaker’s work-in-progress documentary about his British tour, Don’t Look Back. No doubt he and his guests, all four of The Beatles, were indulging in the wacky-tobaccy he’d introduced them to in New York two years earlier: Paul McCartney had written Got To Get You Into My Life about it.
Meanwhile in Hollywood, Love were the headlining act at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go on the sunset Strip in Hollywood tonight in 1966, and frontman Arthur Lee was quite smitten with their opening act, The Doors. He would recommend them to Elektra Records honcho Jac Holzman, who would sign them in August. The Doors also impressed management at the prestigious Whiskey, they would soon become “the house band”, playing there almost every night until August 21st, when they were fired after an especially expletive filled and graphic version of The End.
The Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull were at home in London today in 1969 enjoying some wacky-tobaccy when they were raided by police and charged with possession of cannabis, for which they were both fined £50.
Greg Allman was in court today in 1976 to testify against The Allman Brothers Band roadie and security guard Scooter Herring. The band members were all doing some pretty serious drugs at the time, and they’d been caught with cocaine, and though Greg explained to the others that Scooter had told him he’d been willing to take the fall for the band, they all considered him a “snitch”, and could have tied him to the whipping post. Greg also received death-threats from fans, and the prosecutor’s office ordered police protection. The judge handed Scooter a 75 year prison sentence for “trafficking” (which thankfully was later reduced), and the band broke up, and while most of them would re-form three years later, keyboard player Chuck Leavell and bass player Lamar Williams never forgave Greg, and continued on with their new band Sea Level.
Mike Howlett, the Fiji-born bass player for the London progressive rock band Gong, invited former Eric Burdon and the Animals guitarist Andy Summers, American expatriate drummer Stuart Copeland (formerly of the London prog-rock group Curved Air), and school teacher and ditch digger Gordon Sumner (later known by his stage name “Sting“) to open a Gong reunion show in Paris tonight in 1977 as Strontium 90, marking the first time the three future members of The Police played together in public.
The second of Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak’s Us Festivals began today in 1983. “Woz” lost $12 million on the first Memorial Day weekend festival the year before, paying the bands and building what is still the largest outdoor amphitheater in America outside San Bernadino California. The mix of punk, “new wave”, and classic rock acts had endured 110 degree heat, 100 arrests, 35 overdoses, and 1 murder, but he still had plenty of money and wanted to do it again. The second festival’s lineup was more delineated: Today was “New Wave Day“, headlined by The Clash (who played for the last time with guitarist Mick Jones); The second was “Heavy Metal Day“, at which headliners Van Halen openly mocked The Clash, leading to near-fisticuffs backstage between frontmen David Lee Roth and Joe Strummer; The Third was “Rock Day“, at which headliners Joe Walsh, Stevie Nicks, and David Bowie all got along fine; And this year they added a “Country Day” the following weekend with headliners Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Despite the attendance of some 700,000, Wozniak lost another $12 million, and did not put on a third.
30 years (and 75 million records) to the date after the first time they’d played together, Sting, Andy Summers, and Stuart Copeland played the first show of The Police reunion tour tonight in 2007 at the home of the Canucks, the Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Despite grossing some $358 million (the third biggest moneymaking rock tour of all time), Copeland posted a scathing review of tonight’s show on his own website, largely blaming Sting, and by the tour’s end the members were back to hating each others guts.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, and Jefferson Starship fiddle player Papa John Creach would be 99 if he’d made it past 76.
Creedence Clearwater Revival guitarist, frontman, and principal songwriter John Fogerty is 71.
Wendy O. Williams, the electrical-tape clad “Queen of Shock Rock” singer of The Plasmatics, would be 67 if she hadn’t shot herself at age 48.